Quality time with kids and overnight family packing tips

Wish you were here!

Planning an overnight/weekend trip with my family is a significant source of stress and worry for me.  I mainly worry that I will forget to do something or bring something.

Ever since I forgot the extra seat to my Phil & Ted double stroller at home during a weekend trip to Boston with two very small children – disastrous!  So we stay home a lot which makes those even less frequent trips even more stressful.  And to make matters worse I unfortunately also tend to release that stress and worry onto my husband and/or kids.  So needless to say I was not looking forward to this weekend in Boston.  My husband had a Friday night job and we had a family obligation on Saturday so it only made sense to travel together and stay Friday night.  Maybe I would be too sick to go – after all I AM sick with one of those coughs that keep you up at night.  Accepting I couldn’t get out of this one I starting the planning – pay bills and do laundry on Thursday, pack Friday morning, etc.

During this trip something strange happened.  I had a good time – imagine that!  I didn’t bicker with my husband and I had nice quality time with my kids!  I think it was partially my cold dulling my nerves but also a complete surrender on my part to the whole experience.  My kids had a great time packing their bags with activities on Thursday night.  Once we got there they had the best time just checking-out the hotel room.  They were amused for at least an hour and a half putting their things in draws, testing out the bed and TV, and using the soaps and lotions.  We has a nice 10 minute walk to South Station (with my Phil & Ted double stroller!) where we had an early supper in the food court and looked at the model train holiday display.  When we got back the kids had a bath and then we all cuddled under the duvet and went to sleep early (or they did, I was hacking away).  I didn’t remember to bring everything but it was okay, I stayed calm.  I also remembered something really important.  Humans are highly adaptable.  We can make do and if we just can’t make do we can run over to Macy’s for shoes, socks, a tie (the things my husband forgot).

Packing tips

  • Take a peaceful moment once everyone has gone to bed and visualize the trip; the car ride, time of day, how long, visualize the hotel, your family, all the activities planned and make a written list of all the things you’ll need (bring the list to bed – I always think of something important as I’m falling asleep)
  • Pack things that are versatile like comfortable shoes that also look nice, darker colored clothes that are comfortable enough to sleep in and don’t show the dirt.
  • If you have your child pack their own bag with activities take an inventory so you make sure everything comes home with you (I like to avoid tears); also leave those library books at home!
  • Small children overnight essentials:  activities like books and toys, cuddly stuffed animal for sleeping, sippy-cups and snacks, zip-lock bag of wipes, STROLLER, 2 complete outfits, sweatshirt, brush, toothbrushes)
  • Smaller children additions: diaper bag, wipe-able bib, pack-n-play, and baby Tylenol (just in case!)
  • And Mom, don’t forget your camera, phone, chargers for both, and ibuprofen (just in case!)

4 comments

  1. FROM WHAT YOU WROTE I CAN JUST SEE THE EXCITEMENT THE LITTLE CHILDREN EXPERIENCED ON THIS FAMILY WEEKEND TRIP AND THE SWEET TIME YOU HAD WITH YOUR SLEEPY HEADS AT THE END OF THE DAY.
    ALTHOUGH TRAVEL IS STRESSFUL, ESPECIALLY WITH LITTLE ONES, SO MUCH RESPONSIBILITY AND SO MUCH TO KEEP IN MIND, GETTING AWAY TO A DIFFERENT SETTING RELEASES THE TENSIONS OF EVERYDAY CIRCUMSTANCES AND AT THE SAME TIME SHARPENS
    THE SENSES AND MAKES US FEEL MORE ALIVE. I THINK THAT’S WHY PEOPLE LOVE TO TRAVEL. I GUESS I’M STATING THE OBVIOUS. GLAD YOU HAD THIS GOOD TIME.
    JUST LOVE THE PHOTO, A PERFECT PICTURE OF CHILDREN’S WONDER SEEING A DIFFERENT WORLD THAN THE ONE THEY KNOW.

  2. I can see we share the same sense of trying to remember everything. My weekend trip was similar with my son – the hotel etc. I did forget one thing – only one! And my son joked are we gonna drive back to get it mom? (haha we had just driven 5 hours to get there!)
    I had some minor stressing at different points but overall we had fun.
    I like your picture.

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